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Lady Baltimore

Owen Wister

Book Overview: 

Augustus visits King's Port, South Carolina, at the request of his Aunt Carola, and at her expense. She wants him to research geneaologies and records to find proof that he is descended from royalty so that he can join her exclusive club, the Colonial Society. While there, he becomes involved in a love affair between John Mayrant and Eliza La Heu.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .You will understand she went with one step from cherished ease to single-handed battle with life, a delicately nurtured lady, with no preparation for her trials."

"Except moral elegance," I murmured.

"Ah, that was the point, sir! To see her you would never have guessed it! She kept her burdens from the sight of all. She wore tribulation as if it were a flower in her bosom. We children always looked forward to her coming, because she was so gay and delightful to us, telling us stories of the old times—old rides when the country was wild, old journeys with the family and servants to the Hot Springs before the steam cars were invented, old adventures, with the battle of New Orleans or a famous duel in them—the sort of stories that begin with (for you seem to know something of it yourself, sir) 'Your grandfather, my dear John, the year that he was twenty, got himself into serious embarrassments through paying his attentions to two reigning be. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Last year I read Owen Wister's The Virginian and just loved it. Surprisingly loved it since I am NOT by any stretch of the imagination a fan of westerns. I knew I wanted to read a second book by Owen Wister this year, and I chose Lady Baltimore. Trying to compare Lady Baltimore and The Virginian wou

This is not an easy review to write.

Owen Wster obviously wrote Lady Baltimore with two purposes in mind. The first of those was to write a romance of Southern manors, which turned out swimmingly. The second was to write about Reconstruction, which turned out hideously.

Our narrator Augustus is a Yank

Romance, post bellum, in the South.

Historical comments and recipe for Lady Baltimore cake:
Lady Baltimore Cake Recipe and History, Whats Cooking America

See also:
Jan Karon: Esther's Marmalade Cake

The narrator is unbelievably racist, sexist, snobbish. And condescending. I thought it was a satire of a small minded nosy stuck up town at first but it's for real
I used to think the world of Edith Wharton, and the Wright brothers, and Forster was pleasantly modern yet traditional but after this boo

This book reads like its setting -- the warm, languid south: even-paced, a bit sleepy, but enchanting.

It was hard to get past the blatant racism in this novel. The constant deploring of how bad the new society is was a bit much after a while too. But the story itself, the love story (or rather the attempts to prevent a bad love story turning into a marriage) was very interesting.

Set in Charleston (called Kings Port in the novel), SC, in the early 1900s, this is a long and tedious tale of the Southern mores of the time. Supposedly, the Lady Baltimore cake was inspired by this book.